The international curatorial competition for the Estonian exhibition at the XVII Venice Architecture Biennale organised by the Estonian Centre for Architecture has ended and the winner has been chosen. The jury chose from five exciting projects that made it to the second round of the competition and deemed the work titled “Positive shrinking” best. A total of 13 projects were entered to the curatorial competition.
The authors of the winning project “Positive shrinking” are Jiri Tintera, Kalle Vellevoog, Garri Raagmaa, Martin Pedanik and Paulina Pähn.
The exhibition “Positive shrinking” dissects methods for enlivening small-town centres to adapt to population decline. According to the authors, the causes of population decline are global but the consequences are local. A way to fight this phenomenon is to concentrate on raising the living standard of the locals and to strengthen the sense of location and identity. The exhibition stresses that good quality urban space has a very important role in this fight and there is a lot that the towns and architects themselves can do. A part of the exhibition is a short film made in collaboration of director Anna Hints and composer Liisa Hirsch that shows the process of demolishing a house in Aasta street 1, Valga.
The jury appreciated that the project is tackling an ambitious topic in spatial politics that is widely actual in Europe. The topic is understandable to a fairly wide audience across Europe and there is a lot of content for thorough research. The project has multiple layers including the research part (human geography), architectural and urban output (town squares), and an artistic dimension (film). The topic of shrinking small towns has been internationally thoroughly disserted and the exhibition shows that same is done in Estonia, opening the Estonian point of view to the wider audience - the Estonia 100 architecture programme Great Public Spaces helps to renew the centres, main squares, main streets and their adjacent spaces in 15 towns.
“The winning project helps to acknowledge the architect’s significant role and responsibility to stand for and raise the quality of living environment. Shrinking as a phenomenon inevitably needs to be dealt with and improving the quality of urban spaces is definitely a way to handle its collateral problems. The exhibition is based on Estonia 100 architecture programme Great Public Spaces and effectively shows the efforts made by the Estonian architects to impede the shrinking by developing the urban spaces. It is very welcomed and necessary that the authors wish to take those challenges to the international level,” said the architecture and design adviser of the Estonian Ministry of Culture Veronika Valk-Siska.
The jury comprised of: Raul Järg (head of the jury, architect, chairman of ECA, commissioner of the Estonian exhibition at Venice Architecture Biennale), Andres Kurg (architectural historian, EAA professor and senior researcher), Maria Arusoo (art historian and curator, Estonian Society of Art Historians and Curators, director of Estonian Centre for Contemporary Art), Laura Linsi (architect, member of the Estonian Association of Architects, curator of 2018 Estonian exhibition), Roland Reemaa (architect, member of the Estonian Association of Architects, curator of 2018 Estonian exhibition), Veronika Valk-Siska (architect, architecture and design adviser of the Estonian Ministry of Culture), Peeter Pere (architect, member of the Estonian Association of Architects) and Triin Ojari (Estonian Society of Art Historians and Curators, director of Estonian Museum of Architecture).
The 17th International Architecture Exhibition will run from 23 May to 29 November 2020, curated by architect and scholar Hashim Sarkis, head architect of a studio by the same name.
Estonian participation at the Venice Architecture Biennale is supported by Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the Estonian Ministry of Culture.